Independent Online

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Belarusian tennis star Victoria Azarenka finds no sense in Wimbledon ban

FILE - Belarus' Victoria Azarenka looks dejected after losing her third round match against Romania's Simona Halep REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

FILE - Belarus' Victoria Azarenka looks dejected after losing her third round match against Romania's Simona Halep REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Published Apr 29, 2022

Share

Madrid - Belarus' Victoria Azarenka said the Wimbledon ban on players from Russia and her country makes no sense and the former world number one called on the tennis governing bodies to take action against the decision.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), which hosts the grass court Grand Slam, took the decision in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the stand was swiftly condemned by the men's and women's tours.

Story continues below Advertisement

The ATP and the WTA denounced the AELTC decision as "discriminatory", with Steve Simon, the women's tour chief, last week warning of "strong reactions".

ALSO READ: WTA chief sends warning to Wimbledon after ban on Russian, Belarusian players

"If you are asking me if I agree with Wimbledon or I see their reasoning after being on a personal call with them, I don't see their reasoning," Azarenka, who sits on the WTA players' council, told reporters in Madrid on Thursday.

Story continues below Advertisement

"It does not make sense and it does not connect to what they are saying."

The 32-year-old Azarenka, ranked 17th in the world, won her opening round at the WTA 1000 event in Madrid on Thursday but her fellow Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka's title defence ended with a 6-2 3-6 6-4 defeat to unseeded American Amanda Anisimova.

ALSO READ: Wimbledon ban will 'incite hatred,' says Belarus tennis federation

Story continues below Advertisement

Tennis governing bodies have banned Russia and Belarus from international team competitions following the invasion, but individual players from the two countries are allowed to continue competing as neutrals.

The 2022 Wimbledon championships will be the first time that players have been banned on the grounds of nationality since the immediate post-World War Two era, when German and Japanese players were excluded.

"I think there should be a reaction to that, that is all I want to say," said Azarenka, who won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013.

Story continues below Advertisement

"I have made my stance very clear on the issue. I will never, ever support war. I will never support violence. I will never find any justifications for that. That is all I can say right now."

Reuters

Share